SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The weather has improved tremendously in the Valley of the Sun, though it's a bit cloudy this morning. It should be ideal baseball weather for the next couple of weeks, sunny with temps in the high 70s or low 80s.
It wasn't that way Saturday, as you know with the two Cubs games being rained out. But what you probably did not know that the weather could have been worse at Cubs Park Saturday afternoon. An EF-0 tornado touched down in Mesa around 12:45 p.m. Saturday -- just before the scheduled game time -- less than two miles east of Cubs Park. I thought I saw possible swirl in the clouds and a funnel starting to form. EF-0 is the "weakest" form of tornado, and you can see in the photos on that link that damage was minimal and no one was injured. Still, it would have been pretty scary if that had happened at Cubs Park. Tornadoes in this part of the country are pretty rare, so it's good that this one was pretty small.
One baseball-related note: now we know why James Russell has not pitched in a game:
James Russell has yet to get in Cactus League game because of dead arm. #Cubs Renteria says not a big deal— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 4, 2014
I'm not quite sure how you get "dead arm" when you've been resting all winter.
Bonifacio SS, Murphy 3B, Rizzo 1B, Ruggiano LF, Sweeney CF, Wells RF, Schierholtz DH, Barney 2B, Whiteside C
Burns CF, Punto SS, Donaldson 3B, Moss 1B, Reddick RF, Norris C, Fuld LF, Vogt DH, Sogard 2B
Hey, look! It's our old buddy Sam Fuld. That could be fun.
Today's game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today's game, that will be 2 p.m. CT and 3:30 p.m. CT. These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. They will also appear in this StoryStream™. The pitcher box and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.